a real, honest-to-goodness hike?

Yes, I’m a bad blog mommy. I’ve long been a bad blog mommy. This should be no surprise to anyone. Hell, many of the links on the right are almost a decade old. I really should update them. Anywho. Moving on.

So after many years of not hiking (unless one wants to count urban hiking, i.e. walking around the city – which I do), last year I went on a hike with my friend Sarriah (who is my usual weekend urban hiking buddy). I couldn’t quite finish the Eaton Canyon hike to the falls due to slippery rocks, but we got pretty close before we had to turn back.Unfortunately, I have no photos to commemorate the day, unlike the hike I took with my friend Boychik on this past Saturday, this time on the Bear Canyon Loop Trail, not far from Lake Elsinore. Again, we couldn’t finish, but this time was due to time constraints – we started a little too late, it was a challenging hike, even for Boychik, and we didn’t want to risk being out there when night fell. We got in about 2.5 miles, so that was fine. (Just as well, as I’d already run 3.72 miles earlier that day due to my Zombies, Run! 5K training app.)

This time, however, I got some photos!

This is the wide part of the trail.
This is the wide part of the trail.

This part of the trail is a bit more narrow. And there are rocks.
This part of the trail is a bit more narrow. And there are rocks.

Lookit my dirty shoes perched on a rock! I need new shoes.
Lookit my dirty shoes perched on a rock! I need new shoes.

Moar Rocks!
Moar Rocks!

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Setting sun shining on the mountains.
Setting sun shining on the mountains.

Slowly setting sun.
Slowly setting sun.

Sun almost gone! Looks like a sand painting.
Sun almost gone! Looks like a sand painting.

The next day Sarriah and I embarked on our almost-weekly urban hike. Our goal each week is to find a coffee shop we’ve never tried before, hopefully in an unfamiliar part of the city. We then agree to meet somewhere about 1-2 miles away from the coffee place and walk there, then walk back. Sometimes we take the MetroRail, sometimes we each drive to our meeting place, and sometimes we’re just lazy/tired from a long week and decide to stick close to either of our homes. Most of the time we try to be adventurous. We swap weeks as to who finds the place and decides where to meet, which helps to vary the places we find, since I tend to find stuff in the San Gabriel Valley or near Metro Gold Line stops (what with me living in Pasadena), whereas she will often find places near her close-to-downtown-LA neighborhood or in Hollywood, Koreatown, etc.

This week she chose the Beachwood Cafe, a place we’d walked by before, but had never been to. We met at her place, drove to the northern part of Los Feliz, then walked up Beachwood Drive. It made for a nice – and somewhat steep, but not as steep as the hike the previous day – walk, lasting over five miles total.

This is the view from Beachwood Drive. And no, you can't get to the sign from this road. It takes some serious hiking to get to the sign.
This is the view from Beachwood Drive. And no, you can’t get to the sign from this road. It takes some serious hiking to get to the sign.

Welcome to Hollywoodland!
Welcome to Hollywoodland!

This is the original Hollywoodland Real Estate office. It is currently owned by Hollywoodland Realty.
This is the original Hollywoodland Real Estate office. It is currently owned by Hollywoodland Realty.

Beachwood Cafe Menu. Aren't you excited?
Beachwood Cafe Menu. Aren’t you excited?

Pretty good meal, but I had to ask for a second piece of toast. What?
Pretty good meal, but I had to ask for a second piece of toast. What?

Butterflies in the window of Beachwood Cafe.
Butterflies in the window of Beachwood Cafe.

This is ye olde timey time switch. I have no idea what that is, but I liked the look of it.
This is ye olde timey time switch. I have no idea what that is, but I liked the look of it.

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And when returning back to Sarriah's car, we ducked into a used everything shop. CDs, DVDs, books, LPs. There may have been cassettes and 8 track tapes somewhere, but it wasn't obvious.
And when returning back to Sarriah’s car, we ducked into a used everything shop. CDs, DVDs, books, LPs. There may have been cassettes and 8 track tapes somewhere, but it wasn’t obvious.

Sunday was finished with hanging out with CuteFilmNerd and Boychik, showing CFN how to use Outlook to its fullest potential in preparation of a new job assignment, introducing him to The Slaw Dogs and getting dessert at Real Food Daily. A very busy – yet physically productive – weekend, all told.

wanna write, wanna write, wanna write…

…but come up short when presented with a blank screen. Gah!

Much as I love Sondheim, I can no longer agree with his sentiment of, “White. A blank page or canvas. His favorite – so many possibilities.” (The last line in my favorite musical of all time, Sunday in the Park with George.)

This is, of course, why I’ve been such a crappy blogger the last few years. And I miss looking forward to the blank page and/or screen. But what’s a permanently blocked girl to do? Seems like I’ve written about my tendencies for blocks ad nauseum, so obviously writing about it isn’t knocking anything loose. Blech.

Anywho, it’s a new year (says Mistress Pays-Attention-To-Calendars) and I’m starting it off in a pretty stellar way: living with HotScienceGuy.

I moved in at the beginning of December and, as of today, most of my stuff is still in the garage because the condo is small and we have no idea where anything is going. Some of it is going to be gotten rid of via Craigslist and some of it will be permanently stored in the garage. Thankfully it’s a two car garage, so I can park my car in there – he doesn’t have a car by choice and we live within walking distance of his workplace, so we’ll probably be a one car household for the foreseeable future.

We’re still doing the, “What’s the best way to live together without wanting to commit homicide?” dance that two stubborn people set in their ways tend to do, but for the most part it’s going well and I’m very happy I made the move and am living with my man. And it’s soooo nice to be living closer to JPL – I can be there in about fifteen minutes or less. Yay!

Christmas Day was spent with his father, step-mother and about fifteen of his extended family members at his father’s place near San Jose, with Boxing Day at his mom’s place with his mom, step-father and half-siblings (they’re about twenty years younger) about forty-five minutes away from his dad’s place. Though I was a tad bit overwhelmed at times and had to dash to the restroom for a moment alone, I really had a good time. His family all seem to pretty cool and, from what I could tell, I executed no horrific faux pas that would make them hiss at the sight of me, so I count that as a win.

Unfortunately, the schedules of my own family precluded us from heading to Fresno, so I’ll have to find a way to see them this year before the holidays roll around again.

A serious ankle sprain in November put me out of commission for awhile, right as I was starting to move things from my old East Hollywood apartment to HSG’s condo, so that delayed things a bit, but I was up and around enough by Thanksgiving to invite Sarriah and CuteFilmNerd to join HSG and me for T-Day dinner at Doomie’s Home Cookin’ and dessert/drinks back at the apartment, which was very nice.

Of course more things happened in 2012 – things I never got around to writing about – but I figure that’ll do for now. The writing joints are creaky and the muscles are stiff, so I’ll ease back into it so I don’t snap off a limb in the process.

Hope y’all have an amazing 2013!

Photo Scavenger Hunt: Yellow Submarine Edition

The inestimable Michelle posts a photo scavenger hunt every Thursday. And I, like a very bad girl, have participated only once, back in the days before I restarted my blog. I thought, since I seem to take photos damn near every day now, I might as well try the scavenger hunt again. And I got most of the photos on Thursday night, but two more were eluding me. I finally got them yesterday, so here is my entry!

(Edited 9/5/11 @ 12:27am: Two of the “something else yellow” photos I originally included somehow got cut out.)

Yellow flower


Yellow vehicle


Something else yellow (I had no idea how many “somethings else yellow” I would find. The first few were gotten at JPL.)





From whence Silversun Pickups got their name.
From whence Silversun Pickups got their name.

The ladies room at the Grauman Chinese Theater.
The ladies room at the Grauman Chinese Theater.

Summer water

MacArthur Park
MacArthur Park

Dusty

Exhaustion

Me after an hour plus workout.
Me after an hour plus workout.

ladies of the lake…

Another weekend. Another weekend walk. This time Sarriah and I opted for Lake Hollywood, a man-made lake nestled in the Hollywood Hills, designed by William Mulholland and completed in 1924. It’s a lovely area and, though we couldn’t make a complete circuit of the lake as parts of it were closed off to the public (and actual access to the reservoir is verboten), going as far as we could and making our way back made for a nice 5 mile walk (give or take a few yards). I’ve read some accounts that say parts of Chinatown were filmed there, but I’ve also read accounts that the scenes were filmed at the Stone Canyon Reservoir, which is about 15 miles west. No matter where it was shot, it made for a lovely morning stroll. And yes, photos were taken:
















(A few more photos can be found here. Not many more, but a few.)

Say “I Do”…

Though I’m not much into religion, I can appreciate the beauty of a church. Especially one that is donated for the cause of civil rights.

On Saturday I found myself inside a lovely little church in West Hollywood. One that I had driven/walked past many times over the last twenty years:


What brought me into a church on a lovely Saturday afternoon? Shooting a PSA in support of marriage equality. A couple of weeks ago CuteFilmNerd worked as an extra on a television show. One of his fellow extras mentioned a project that a friend of hers was putting together and that she was working on and would he like to participate? He couldn’t, but he just happened to know someone with strong feelings on the subject (your humble blogger, of course).

And so there I was today for five and a half hours, in a dress and rarely worn heels, lending my talents as background actress. It was on a purely volunteer basis, but it’s for a cause I deeply believe in and I enjoyed myself, meeting new people, so that’s pretty good in my book.

BTW, the creators of Say “I DO” still need additional funding to get this PSA off the ground. They’ve got a fundraising page that will only be up for a little longer (it goes dark at midnight on Monday) and could use all the help they could get. If you could swing by and donate a little, I know it would be very appreciated.

(A few photos from the day are below. More can be found in my Picasa album.)








strolling down the river…

After work yesterday, I had planned to do about thirty minutes on the JPL basement treadmill, then realized that it might be best if I headed out earlier than later to participate in the Benefit for Benji that the proprietor of my favorite vegan hot dog cart- Frankenstand, really the only vegan hot dog cart that I know of – was having to help pay for his puppy’s spine surgery. Off I went to partake in a nice little meal:

Of a yummy vegan sausage with all the toppings:

The Witch with sauerkraut, baco bits, coleslaw, grain mustard, ketchup and veganaise
The Witch with sauerkraut, baco bits, coleslaw, grain mustard, ketchup and veganaise

And a nice chocolate raspberry cupcake by Amanda’s Bakery and Cafe:

Realizing that I had done precious little walking over the previous three days and that I wasn’t in the mood to go home just yet, I called up Sarriah, who wasn’t far away, and we met up in Los Feliz for a walk.

She had said she had a destination in mind, but wouldn’t reveal the details (though, to be fair, I didn’t press too hard beyond throwing out things I happened to see: “Is it the accordion school? We’re going to that rug hanging in the tree, aren’t we?”). The destination proved to be a portion of the Los Angeles River that runs through Atwater Village. And the first sight of the river to greet me was this:


It didn’t take long for me to become obsessed with photographing the sights of the concrete-lined river as night fell:







Apparently snowy egrets are known to hang out in the L.A. River. I saw one very early on, but before I could take a picture, it flew away, only a blur in my lens.
Apparently snowy egrets are known to hang out in the L.A. River. I saw one very early on, but before I could take a picture, it flew away, only a blur in my lens.

As we approached a bridge, Sarriah wondered aloud about our new location. I looked around…and recognized the entrance to the State Route 2 Highway that I use in my daily commute to work.

But I had never before noticed this lovely entrance to the L.A. River trail:


Nor the gate left open for river hikers:

Nor this intriguing bench just off a teeny tiny branch of the trail, near the bridge guardrail:

At this point, though, it was getting a little late and we were getting tired, so we opted to meander back to our cars through the residential neighborhoods of Atwater rather than tackle the other side of the river. And our meanderings led us past this cute driveway:

Los Angeles, where even your driveway is a STAH!
Los Angeles, where even your driveway is a STAH!

And this fascinating lamp post (in the yard of the driveway star):

Please don't eat us!
Please don't eat us!

Well, that was too much excitement for one night, so after arriving at our cars, we chatted for a little longer, then went on our separate ways.

I think I’m still tired…

filling up my mural cache, part the second…

(Continued from Part the First )

Another daily sight on my way to and from work is a simple mural on a building, facing a Y intersection that is busy, but still somewhat residential:


For some reason, Cache’s bubble chickens on that narrow wall fill me with glee every time I see them. And that top chicken, the leader of the chicken group, looks so noble and knowing – it exudes a calm that settles over me, even if only for a moment.

Mind you, that’s not the only embellished wall on that building. Other muralists have left their artistic signatures:

East Wall (artist appears to be Scribe):





The expression on this poor shark's face always cracks me up.
The expression on this poor shark's face always cracks me up.

West Wall (with art by Buff Monster and others):





I love the Shepard Fairey tribute.
I love the Shepard Fairey tribute.

There are so many more murals in my neck of the woods. Ya know what? My neck of the woods is awesome.

filling up my mural cache, part the first…

(Warning: image heavy post ahead…)

Amongst the things I love about living on the south side of the Hollywood Hills (what took me so bloody long?) are the many murals that decorate local buildings and retaining walls. True, some of them look to be little more than glorified tagging, but many of them are true works of art. And there’s one artist with a signature look who always catches my eye.

I first noticed his work on the walls of the deeply lamented Vegan Spot:

So cute! Once The Vegan Spot closed, those walls were painted over before the next tenant took residence. And, too be honest, much as I loved looking at those little birdies, I didn’t think much about them. Until I moved to my current neighborhood and noticed the puffy little chickens taking roost elsewhere in the city (primarily Silverlake and Echo Park, as those are the areas where I spend a fair amount of time).

Turns out the artist calls himself Cache and is quite prolific. He often works in collaboration with other artists (generally Eyeone, judging by the ninjas that accompany his bubble chickens).

A fun and cheery piece of street art by Cache, Eyeone and Atlas (who is responsible for the jolly cats) other collaborators whose names I don’t know (not being hip, I’m not up totally up on the L.A. street art scene) graces Sunset Boulevard in Silverlake on my daily drive home from JPL:

Chicken close up from across Sunset.
Chicken close up from across Sunset.

Drive just a few hundred feet west and another, far more expansive wall is taken up with more lively characters:







And just when you thought you had seen all there was to see, only a few more feet west lies a mural celebrating the L.A. bicycling scene:





But, as much as I love looking at those images nearly every day, it’s another, smaller mural that has become my favorite…

(To be continued…)

walking: fun sights and looty goodness, part 3…

(Continued from Parts One and Two.)

Sunday was somewhat less adventurous (and lacking in Sunday obtained looty goodness), but I still went out on a nice walk, this time with CuteFilmNerd. Just a simple walk to and from a cafe for dinner (six miles round trip), with some stereotypical Hollywood sights on the way that caught my eye:

Then home to sleep the sleep of the weary. Though not before having an overwhelming urge for a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich, with the luscious homemade strawberry jam provided by the talented Janiece, courtesy of her Free Shit Friday giveaways (this is the second time I’ve won – the first time was for oh-so-yummy raspberry jam):

walking: fun sights and looty goodness, part 2…

(Continued from Part One.)

So off I went. My meanderings led me to a shop I’d been meaning to try forever: Jenette Bras.

(Warning, guys, girly stuff ahead, though it does not pertain to shoes. If you don’t want to read about the trials and tribulations of bra fitting [short though it may be], go look at some monster trucks or something. I’ll let you know when the girly stuff has passed.

Also, this next bit might sound somewhat like a commercial. I just really liked my service.)

As a woman of…bountiful proportions, I often have trouble finding bras that lift and present the girls the way I like and that are also comfortable. Since Jenette Bras specializes in big-busted ladies, I knew I had to check it out. I finally did and came away with a new favorite shop (seriously, this is an amazing shop) and a non-inexpensive, but newly beloved bra:

For those who are more of a geeky persuasion (guys, you can come back now – if you didn’t get lost in the “something” link), the Jenette in Jenette’s Bras is Jenette Goldstein, best known to sci-fi fans as PFC Jenette Vasquez in <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aliens_%28film%29&quot;Aliens. Unfortunately she wasn’t there when I stopped by this past weekend, but I had met her a couple of weeks ago when I peered into the shop windows right after they closed. She poked her head out, said hi and I let her know I was definitely interested in stopping by. Turns out she was on her way to The New Beverly, where she was participating in a Q & A after a screening of Aliens. An event where CuteFilmNerd was taking photographs.

Definitely one of those “only in L.A.” kind of moments.

After traipsing off with my prize, I continued on my way, ducking into a residential area, where I was stumbled upon an interesting front yard:

That may not be unusual in some places, but a front yard full of pumpkins is not a common sight in Los Angeles.

More wanderings led me to a sign in front of a Catholic church that, perhaps, wasn’t as thought out as it should have been:

Nothing else that was unusual presented itself on the rest of my perambulations, so off to home I went, where I rested up for the next day…

(To be continued…)